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What is 30under30?
30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.
What are Dual Drivers?
Many an outstanding business has more than one ‘driver’ behind the wheel. This year’s competition saw a few such cases of young entrepreneurs on the same team. Rather than single out one talent, we felt a double profile — i.e. Dual Drivers — would be a more appropriate way to highlight their combined and singular entrepreneurial talents.
Jonathon Green and Elliot Ramler, ELJO (VIC)
Name: Jonathon Green
Age: 26 (Born: June 1985)
Name: Elliot Ramler
Age: 25 (Born: April 1986)
The challenge three years ago was enormous: Two guys whose time on this planet totaled less than a half-century would take on one of the toughest markets in Australia — home entertainment retail. And they would eschew bricks and mortar, setting up a strictly online storefront.
Talk about an uphill climb. But Jonathon Green and Elliot Ramler have proven to be the most gritty of entrepreneurial mountaineers with their company, ELJO.
What started as a backyard business in 2008 landed this year on BRW’s Fast Starters list — and why wouldn’t it? The duo parlayed $20,000 and a pre-paid mobile phone into a retailer generating revenue in excess of $5 million. Revenue grew by 300 percent each of the last two years.
“We entered one of the hardest industries in the country, competing against companies with almost limitless bankrolls,” Ramler says, “and have achieved enormous levels of growth at a young age and in a short time.”
The lads hang their hats on low prices and customer service in a haggle-free environment. Sometimes they’ll take that goal to warp speed. Green says they’ll deliver an order within two hours of it being place, if it’s feasible. “That’s taking customer service to a new level — something we try to do at every turn.”
ELJO (note that the word bears a striking resemblance to the first two letters of the co-founders’ first names) started with consumer electronics, then expanded in 2009 with ELJO Commercial, which deals with developments of various scales, from townhouses to hospitals to large hotels. In 2010, ELJO added whitegoods to its offerings.
During the Rudd administration, ELJO sparked some buzz by labeling bundles of products as a “Stimulus Package,” mimicking the government’s effort to kick-start the moribund economy.
Green and Ramler say the online sector of consumer electronics retail is in a non-stop tug of war with manufacturers and suppliers. Early on, the latter treated the boys and their contemporaries like snot-nosed upstarts who couldn’t be trusted to carry a tune. The relationship has matured considerably, but Green and Ramler say it remains a struggle, with their sources making decisions designed to protect bricks-and-mortar retailers.
So, not surprisingly, when asked to reveal what motivates him as an entrepreneur, each offers a variation on the theme.
“Proving to the world that the Internet is a viable and, in fact, better way to sell things is like proving to a world of disbelievers that the Earth is round,” Green says. “Everyone seems so surprised when I talk about our growth in a time of general disarray for traditional retailers. To me though, it seems obvious. Same products, better prices, greater convenience. Why wouldn’t we grow?”
“I love being at the forefront of something new,” Ramler says. “Everyone in the online world is forging a path relatively untraveled in Australia. In 5-10 years when online retail is accepted as the norm, I will know that we helped get it there — and that right there is a damn good reason to get out of bed in the morning.”
Anthill asks: Elliot and Jonathon, what are your superpowers?
Jonathon Green: “A superfit brain. My mind never rests. That means I have 24 hours in a day to solve a problem or open a new door, compared to around nine for mere mortals.”
Elliot Ramler: “Superhuman strength. As a young entrepreneur, you always have people telling you what you can’t do. As such, it’s necessary to have the strength of mind to persevere.”
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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.